EliteXC’s “Countdown To Rua vs. Lawler”

NEW YORK (Aug. 31, 2007)—SHOWTIME will premiere “Countdown to Rua vs. Lawler”—profiling EliteXC’s anxiously awaited mega-MMA event ‘Uprising’, the biggest and most collaborative event in Hawaiian history—tonight at 1 a.m. ET/PT (morning of Saturday, Sept. 1).

The dramatic and hard-hitting 30-minute documentary will air at various times on the premium network until Sept. 15, when Murilo “Ninja” Rua makes his initial title defense of the EliteXC Middleweight Championship against “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler. (See next page for complete schedule)

The stacked fight card, which pits Rua of the world renowned Chute Boxe Academy and Lawler of the Miletich Fighting System in the main event, also features two match-ups with members of Team Gracie facing fighters of Team Penn.

In matching fighters from all of these legendary and pioneering fight camps on one card, ProElite’s respected live fight division, EliteXC is exposing the national audience to the roots of the sport and aiding MMA’s explosive growth. In less than eight months, this burgeoning MMA event organization has managed to produce some of the best MMA programming on television.

“Uprising” will air live on SHOWTIME from Honolulu at 10 p.m. ET/PT (tape delayed on the West Coast) and features up to five live fights, with additional matches streaming live immediately following the telecast at ProElite.com, the premier mixed martial arts social networking and entertainment internet site.

Produced by Emmy award winning Planet Grande Pictures, “Countdown” is wrought with fight highlights from each fighters colorful past, furious training sessions and coaching from the world’s top MMA academies—Gracie, Penn, Miletich, and the Brazilian family of fighters known as Chute Boxe Academy. “Countdown to Rua vs. Lawler” takes viewers across the globe to the places where MMA legends are born.

In Brazil, Rua and his world-class fight team at Chute Boxe prepare for the most important assignment of their young champion’s life. With brother Mauricio “ShoGun” in his corner, “Ninja” Rua prepares to lay it all on the mat, not only in defense of the EliteXC middleweight belt, but also in honor of the MMA pedigree that the Chute Boxe and Rua families represent.

Back in the United States, at Pat Miletich’s school in Iowa, Lawler prepares in America’s heartland to wrestle (and pound) the EliteXC strap from Rua, so he can place it alongside his ICON Middleweight Championship belt.

“I respect Chute Boxe and all of the champions that have come out of Brazil,” Lawler admits. “But I am coming hard. I am coming to knock him out.”

With 11 knockout wins, Lawler is revered for his aggressive style and no nonsense approach in the cage. With victories over Falaniko Vitale, Joey Villasenor and Frank Trigg, Lawler has earned recognition and respect throughout the world.

In the program, Lawler reveals plans to leave the Miletich Fighting System after this fight and open his own MMA training school in Illinois. Defeating Rua on Sept. 15, and earning the notoriety that comes with another major championship belt, Lawler will be on his way to legendary status in the worldwide MMA community.

“Rua vs. Lawler,” said EliteXC Live Events President Gary Shaw. “Two great champions. Two great fight camps… and no one knows who is going to win.”

Featuring interviews with the leading MMA journalists David Doyle (Yahoo! Sports), Josh Gross (Sherdog.com), Sam Caplan (CBS Sports), Loretta Hunt (The Fight Network) and Stephen Quadros (SHOWTIME Color Commentator), “Countdown” takes fans into the training camps and the homes of Team Gracie’s Nick Diaz and Jake Shields and Team Penn’s “Iron” Mike Aina and Renato “Charuto” Verissimo.

Diaz reflects on his life’s ambitions as an irreverent student in high school, “I just wanted to fight,” he said and takes you along for a ride through a grueling Iron Man triathlon.

The boyishly handsome Shields introduces viewers to his six-year-old daughter and tells how her birth has delivered him from street fights in central California to center stage on national television.

An ocean away in Hawaii, B.J. Penn’s teammates, Aina and Verissimo know that Sept. 15 is the opportunity of a lifetime for them. Competing in front of family and friends, they are confident and determined to defend their home turf and show that they too belong among the world’s elite.

With hard-hitting highlights, revealing interviews and the biggest fight teams in the world assembled, “Countdown” portrays the EliteXC groundswell that is “Uprising!”

Attached Photo Credit: Tom Casino/EliteXC

Murilo “Ninja” Rua winning his EliteXC Middleweight Championship Belt on June 22. Pictured with EliteXC Live Division, headed by Gary Shaw

Whet your appetite for the biggest MMA event in Hawaiian history.

Catch “Countdown To Rua vs. Lawler” on SHOWTIME at the following times:


Friday Aug. 31 1 a.m. SHO

Saturday Sept. 1 12:30 a.m. SHO

Monday Sept. 3 4 p.m. SHO

Tuesday Sept. 4 Midnight SHO

Wednesday Sept. 5 Midnight SHO

Sunday Sept. 9 11 p.m. SHO

Monday Sept. 10 7:30 p.m. SHO

Wednesday Sept. 12 1:30 a.m. SHO

Thursday Sept. 13 Noon SHO

Friday Sept. 14 1:15 a.m. SHO

For more on “Uprising” and for complete bios, photos and videos of your favorite fighters, visit fighter homepages at www.ProElite.com.

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